“Pakistan takes initiative to promote tourism to reduce poverty”
Islamabad: Dr Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) has pledged to lead the collaborative effort of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) to grow tourism to reduce poverty.
She was speaking at a special session on “Promoting Tourism for Development and Poverty Reduction” as a keynote speaker at the Second Conference of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic Cooperation Organization countries ( APECO). The session brought together PAECO delegates from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
In a special session, members of CEE national parliaments issued a joint declaration to cooperate in poverty reduction.
Reiterating Pakistan’s determination to grow tourism for poverty reduction, Dr Sania Nishtar said Pakistan will take the lead in this collaborative effort. She focused on promoting tourism in the ECO region in all its legal forms.
Delegates from CEE countries jointly reaffirmed their cooperation on various aspects of common aspirations to promote tourism for development and poverty reduction. Member countries urged and called on the Executive Council of the ECO to form a joint working group / committee of members of parliament so that an institutional arrangement can be established for the joint sharing of the resources of the member states of the ECO, at the over the next year, in the general context of promoting tourism for development and poverty reduction.
Member States made recommendations on the recognition of the common heritage namely the historic Silk Road and an extremely beautiful geography which gives the ECO region enormous potential as an international tourist destination. They agreed that the governments of CEE countries will cooperate in all forms of tourism, which remains a great engine of sustainable development and poverty reduction. They will therefore pool their resources to strengthen the capacities of local communities through education and training of the population, particularly in tourism-related livelihoods. In addition, CEE member states affirmed that they will promote religious, cultural and health tourism through improved connectivity and the development of infrastructure and institutions in the tourism industry of all member states. . Delegates from CEE member states also urged the elimination of terrorism to ensure security in the region, which is vital to attract and develop tourism industries.
The joint declaration also pledged that the promotion of tourism in all its legal forms remains the main objective, both of national policies for the promotion of tourism at local and regional level within the ECO region, in order to make a preferred choice for international tourists. All Member States also reiterated the importance of sustainable ecotourism, which is both a powerful source of perpetual poverty reduction and preservation of the environment for future generations. During the session, informative speeches were delivered by distinguished delegates on tourism in the ECO region, namely the development of critical infrastructure and the promotion of partnerships for capacity building and poverty reduction.
Distinguished speakers included Shinkai Karokhail, Member of Parliament Wolesi Jirga, Afghanistan; Malahat Ibrahimgizi, Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Labor and Social Policy, Azerbaijan; Dr. Seyed Ehsan Khandouzi, vice-chairman of the Parliament’s economic committee; Mynbay Darkhan, Kamzabekuly, Parliamentary Committee for Social and Cultural Development, Kazakhstan; Fattohzoda Saidmurod, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on International Affairs, Public Associations and Information, Tajikistan; G. Rozyyev, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Science, Education, Culture and Youth Policy, Turkmenistan; Ceyda Bolunmez Erkin Cankiri, Member of Parliament, Turkey; Zohidov Erkin Azamovich, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Science, Education, Culture and Sports, Uzbekistan; and Mohammad Tayyab Ata, member of the Upper House of Afghanistan.
Concluding the session, Dr Sania expressed his deep gratitude to the ECO delegates for their joint statement aimed at promoting parliamentary partnerships for poverty eradication and tourism development.